I’ve talked to several lawyers recently who have asked me how to go about automating their social media accounts. For instance, they want all firm news and blog posts to automatically tweet via their Twitter accounts. They want the same posts to automatically post to their firm’s Facebook pages or personal profiles. They want everything auto-fed into their LinkedIn profile.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you can’t have your blog posts feed into a Twitter or Facebook account under any circumstances. Rather, my concern is that there is a belief that setting up these automatic feeds constitutes a social media strategy. It’s as if the attorneys want all the benefits that social media can offer minus the social part or any time investment. I think there is a gross misunderstanding of what social media tools are. They are not advertising platforms in the traditional sense. They are tools for communication. This is a big difference.
The Phone Analogy
We all can agree that the telephone is a tool used for communication. You can use the telephone to connect with people, answer questions, explain your services, acquire new business, etc. You could also setup a robo-dialer with a recorded message and use the phone that way too. But guess what, not only would this be unethical for attorneys, it would also be highly ineffective. The phone doesn’t exist as a platform for you to blast your message out to the masses. This seems obvious and intuitive because the phone has been around for awhile and we are comfortable with how to use it. Phones work because you are able to listen, engage, and converse. You can strike up a debate, start a discussion, or offer help and advice. But if you were to record a message and automate a phone call, it doesn’t work, you can’t be reactive because you’re not there.
Social media isn’t so different. Yes, it’s more passive communication than the telephone. You don’t have to respond live and in real time the same way you would on a phone call. But it only works when you are a participant at some stage of the conversation.
If your only participation is automating messages you aren’t listening, engaging, conversing, debating, discussing, or helping. You’re blasting out an automated message for your own purposes. Just like robo-dialing on a telephone, you can do it…..but don’t expect it to be very effective.
Photo by plenty.r (http://www.flickr.com/photos/plenty/)